and Well in the Bismarck Public Library
sorry I haven't posted an update in a while, but I've been camping for most of the past
month and haven't had much Internet access. And then when I did get
a motel room a while ago to update my website, Earthlink, my web hoster,
was having "technical difficulties" and I couldn't post anything.
Maintaining a website,
especially while traveling, is a
lot more complicated than I ever imagined but
I was finally able to post this update, so if you were waiting for something to
read, I've hopefully got enough here to keep you busy for a while.
spent the past month in, believe it or not, Bismarck, North Dakota (pop. 49,500),
which is the state's capital. To pronounce it like the locals, you have to say "North
Dakoooooda," and then add an "eh?" to the end. The thick Upper Midwest
accent here really cracks me up. And to think that only a few months ago
in Tennessee I was dealing with people who said, "Weer y'all frumm"?
Here it's, "Where ya from, eh?"
doing a lot of family research here in Bismarck, because this was where my Mom
(who passed away a couple years ago) grew back in the 1930s, and I wanted
to learn about her upbringing. In fact, both sides of her family lived in North Dakota during the
early 1900s so I've spent a lot of time in the wonderful Bismarck Public
Library trying to piece together the story of her ancestors. I've also spent
a lot of time in the library getting caught up with my website and have added
several new pages and photos And I've also been busy in the library returning e-mails. After spending three weeks in
the Bismarck Public Library with my laptop, I'm sure the friendly ladies at the desk are starting
to wonder about me.
Problems... and Much Worse
in May before I
left Portland, I spent $1,200 getting my transmission overhauled at Cottman's
Transmission. Suddenly though, one morning a few weeks ago here in
Bismarck, I couldn't shift my truck into reverse. Fortunately, I had 95 miles left on Cottman's 12,000-mile
warranty (doing the math, the warranty was 99.3% expired). Unfortunately, there's not a
Cottman's shop here in Bismarck. Fortunately, the Cottman's in Portland agreed to pay for it to be fixed
by a shop here in Bismarck,
Leo's Transmission, which I
thought was pretty nice of them (Cottman's, that is, not Leo's). As a
result, I spent about a week in a Bismarck motel waiting for my truck's transmission to get fixed.
I was waiting in my motel room, I called up my web-hoster, Earthlink on the
morning of September 11 to ask a few questions. The first thing the guy
asked me was if I'd seen the news that morning. When I said no, he said,
"You better turn on your TV. The World Trade Center has been demolished
and the Pentagon's on fire." After hanging up, I immediately flipped on the
that's how I learned about the September 11 terrorist attack. Like
everyone else, I was stunned and sat glued to the television for the next
several days, hoping that they'd find survivors. I wasn't in much of a
mood to write after that and am still deeply saddened by what happened, which is one reason that I haven't updated my
website in a while.
people in Bismarck were shocked, of course, by the events just as I'm sure
people everywhere in the U.S. were. A festival in downtown Bismarck
went ahead as scheduled on the Saturday after the tragedy, including a parade
with lots of bands and floats. People kept a stiff upper lip and waved
their flags during the parade in the cold, cloudy weather, but a lot of folks didn't have their hearts into
it and I saw a few tears. There are a lot of flags waving here now
and, more than anger, just a lot of sadness... which describes my attitude as
Above left: Leo's Transmission in Bismarck, where my truck sat for
several days getting fixed.
Above center: Catching up with e-mail in my motel room in Bismarck.
This was the day before the tragedy in New York.
Above right: As I watched the events in New York unfold, I was transfixed and deeply saddened for the next several
as I'm sure everyone was.
gears now (which I can do, thanks to the folks at Leo's Transmission) and post some statistics about my trip so far:
on the road: 115
pages on this website: Exactly 100
Photos on this website:
I really have posted 100 pages and 852 photos so far... and I haven't even left for
I mentioned, I've
spent a lot of time in the Bismarck Public Library these past few weeks working
on my website. In addition to four News updates, I'm adding several new
pages in this round while posting over 200 new photos, each with
a caption. Of course, not everyone will be interested in every page
but I've tried to write about enough different things that hopefully everyone
who visits my site will find something interesting.
of the reasons that I'm taking this 18-month trip is to learn about my family's history on
both my Mom's and my Dad's side. I've written a description of their
family stories in
Summary of My Family's History
based on what I've learned so far
and what I previously knew. Some of this might be a little
confusing, so I drew a map showing how my father's ancestors moved across
America and have included several old photos, shown in My
Dad's Ancestors: Map and Photo Essay. I also drew a map
showing how my
mother's ancestors moved across America and have included a lot of old photos,
shown in My
Mom's Ancestors: Map and Photo Essay.
More Del Stripping
Some of you might know that the original name of my website was DelsTrip.com.
However, when I mentioned that name to people in Portland before I left, they
thought I said DelStrip.
I wanted to assure folks that they won't
see any pictures of me stripping, so I purchased the domain name "DelsJourney", which, I
think, is a better name anyway. I'd kept the DelsTrip site though and
added a link there to DelsJourney. Not that anyone was probably checking it, but
I recently cancelled my DelStrip site.
I got an e-mail from some company a few months ago wondering if the name
DelsTrip.com was for sale. I told them it was but then they backed
out. I can't help but wonder what they were planning to post there!
I love to drive around America, I put together a page called
20 Favorite Drives in the U.S., though it was hard to narrow down my
favorite drives to a list of 20. This page has 40 photos so it might take
a while to download. Also, I realized that I had never properly introduced
my traveling companion, My
Toyota Truck, so I went through my old photos and picked out 36 pictures
of my truck parked next to various friends over the past 16 years. You
might see yourself there!
I described in my update from Syracuse (see News:
8, 2001) there was some confusion about the
location of Comanche, the horse ridden by Captain
Myles Keogh at Custer's Last Stand in 1876 and the only U.S. Cavalry survivor of that battle. I recently
learned Comanche's whereabouts, which you can read about in
Comanche Mystery Solved. Custer's home base for several years was Fort Abraham Lincoln,
which has also been my base during my month-long stay in Bismarck.
I'm traveling through the upper Midwest now and am tracing my ancestors who
homesteaded here, I wrote up a short page on
1862 Homestead Act and included a little blurb about that
Norwegian delicacy, Lutefisk,
for those who have never had the pleasure of eating codfish soaked in lye.
Another feature that makes this area unique is its amazingly changeable
weather, which I've described in
in the Midwest. And while you're at it, you can find out Why
I'm Responsible for the Current Recession. All
of these pages are in my Close-Ups section.
can you see why I've spent a month in Bismarck! I've done enough writing
for a while... now it's time to dig into my family research.
More Photos and Faster Downloads!
apologize for some of my earlier News Updates, especially from May and June,
since they were filled with a lot of large photos that took years to
download. That was before I learned how to create thumbnail photos.
I've gone back to all the earlier webpages that had lots of large photos and converted
them to thumbnails so those pages will download a lot faster now. In fact
they downloaded so fast that I was able to add some more photos and stories to
goal for this website is to limit the download time of each page to about 45
seconds at 56K. Of course, I put text at the top of each page so you can
start reading while the photos are downloading. Those of you lucky enough
to have DSL
or Cable Modem, of course, don't have to worry about it.
to my original plans, I was going to leave Portland in June for a 2-month drive
around the U.S. then leave for Australia on September 1. By September 30,
which is now, I was supposed to be scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef... but
here I am in Bismarck, North Dakota with not a single blonde, bikinied
Sheila in sight. So what happened?
frantically driving across New Mexico a few months ago so that I could meet my friends in
Austin on a certain day, I reached the profound conclusion that, "This
That's when I realized that I don't like schedules. And I
also realized that, for the first time in my life, I don't have to be at a
certain place at a certain time. Therefore, I've decided to mosey,
spending as much time as I like in one place before moving on. In fact,
I've decided not to move on until I'm darn well ready to.
attitude explains why I spent two weeks in eastern South Dakota recently and why
I've spent a month (a month!) in Bismarck. Hey, the weather's nice here, the
campground is cheap, the people are friendly, the fried chicken at Dan's
Supermarket is great, and I've got plenty to keep me busy. So, in the
words of Bobby McFerrin, "Don't Hurry, Be Happy" ... or something like
rearranged my trip Down Under, by the way, to accommodate my delayed arrival
to better take advantage of the weather. I'm now planning to visit New Zealand first,
from November through January, and then Australia from February through July. But at the rate
I'm currently going, who knows if I'll ever get there! No, I'll be going down
there soon because the days are getting shorter here... which means they're getting
longer down there! And when the days start getting shorter down there,
I'll fly up north. My plan is to spend three summers in a row without
having to deal with a
page is getting pretty long, so I've split it in half and I posted my update at
News: September 30, 2001 -- Part 2. Be sure to check out my
there about Midwesterners, hail dent repair, and head lice.
September 30, 2001 -- Part
2 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
September 15, 2001 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
30, 2001 (Webster, South Dakota)
18, 2001 (Watertown South Dakota)
17, 2001 (Walnut Grove, Minnesota)
14, 2001 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
10, 2001 (Battle Creek, Michigan)
8, 2001 (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 2)
8, 2001 (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 1)
6, 2001 (Manlius, New York)
23, 2001 (Middleton, Massachusetts)
22, 2001 (Boston, Massachusetts)
20, 2001 (Pomfret, Connecticut)
18, 2001 (Denton, Maryland)
16, 2001 (Cumberland, Virginia)
14, 2001 (Roanoke, Virginia)
9, 2001 (Sevierville, Tennessee)
8, 2001 (Fontana Lake, North Carolina)
5, 2001 (Manchester, Tennessee)
30, 2001 (Hohenwald, Tennessee)
29, 2001 (Corinth, Mississippi)
27, 2001 (Natchez, Mississippi)
24, 2001 (Austin, Texas)
20, 2001 (Canyon de Chelly, Arizona)
18, 2001 (Clay Canyon, Utah)
15, 2001 -- Part 2 (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)
15, 2001 -- Part 1 (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)
14, 2001 (San Diego, California)
11, 2001 (San Jose, California)
2, 2001 (Bellingham, Washington)
19, 2001 (Hillsboro, Oregon)
30, 2001 (Hillsboro, Oregon)
19, 2001 (Bellingham, Washington)
5, 2001 (Bellingham, Washington)
* * * * * * *
Travels (2001-02) >
U.S. Trip >
September 30, 2001 (Page 1)